We gave up toilet paper! (& switched to family cloth)

We gave up toilet paper! (& switched to family cloth)

We finally decided to ditch regular toilet paper and switch to homemade TP, otherwise known as “family cloth.” (And we’re telling the whole internet!)

My husband and I moved away from toilet paper for a number of reasons:

(1) It’s dry.
(2) The chemicals it’s processed in are bad for those sensitive areas.
(3) It leaves particles. (Gross.)

Also, did you know that it takes 37 gallons of water, 1.3 kilowatt/hours (KWh) of electricity and some 1.5 pounds of wood to make a SINGLE roll of toilet paper? [1] Not to mention all the energy it takes to process it from our sewer system.

Chemical-laden baby wipes are no good either. They have things like methylisothiazolinone in them, which I can’t pronounce. As a general rule, if I can’t pronounce it (or eat it), then I don’t put it in or on my body.

For years now, I’ve been getting really thin tears “down there” that feel like paper cuts. I’ve now learned that these are called vaginal fissures and can be caused by certain soaps, artificial fragrances, tampons, scented or colored panty liners, and paper toilet paper. When I got married, these vaginal fissures became even more of a problem, as they made intercourse very painful.

Think about how MUCH bleached, processed plant material we put in that area! Tampons. Disposable pads. Toilet paper. It’s all highly processed and full of chemicals, and we put it RIGHT THERE all up in our most sensitive bits!

The solution? Eating a balanced diet (check!) and cloth toilet paper. (I also gave up tampons to use a Mooncup instead, but that’s a different post!)

Okay okay. So is giving up TP taking it too far? Maybe for some of you who are less sensitive than me, it seems absolutely nuts. But guess what?

After we switched to family cloth and cloth pads, MY PAPER-CUT TEARS DISAPPEARED.

For me, it’s life-changing. Living with those tears was terribly painful, and it made fun married-people stuff really hard. I’ve had zero tears since we switched. ZERO. Not even one. And to be honest ladies, I really feel like I’m pampering myself! It’s like when you go to a spa or fancy hotel and they don’t have paper towels, they have fluffy white washcloths that you throw in a woven basket. You know, THOSE? It’s like that, 3-5 times a day. :)

How to make family cloth

First, get some organic flannel patterns that you just adore. (I am seriously in love with these little birds!) Then, I suggest you get a cute little fabric bin to put the finished squares in. Simply cut, double layer, and sew into squares. Then you’re done!

Family Cloth (cloth toilet paper)

Family Cloth (cloth toilet paper)

Some of you might be thinking that this is going a little too far or that this is gross, but it makes so much sense to me. For you cloth diaper users, this may not be too much of a stretch. And if you’re really concerned about bacteria, instead of throwing the used cloths into a dry bin, you can throw them into a vinegar and water solution, and perhaps add a little tea tree oil, as well. Voilà!

Many people around the world prefer to rinse first, using bidets, some sort of water bottle or vessel, or even spray bottles. With family cloth, we use a mini spray bottle in conjunction with the cloth. We only ever need to use one square at a time; and overall, it seems much more hygienic than regular paper toilet paper, which sometimes doesn’t get everything and can leave paper particles. (Ew.)

Also, if you’re wondering if they smell. They don’t. At least ours don’t. Using water and cloth is so much cleaner than paper….I can’t even describe it to you non-water/cloth using folks. Pooping shouldn’t be that messy. If you’re having that much stink and mess…well…I think maybe you might want to evaluate more than just what you’re wiping with.

For me, family cloth has made my bathroom time just *that* much more luxurious, AND it’s helped to heal my body. Go on! Try it! ;)

Also, if you’re wondering about the squatty potty, you can learn more HERE.

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Comments

  1. Michelle @ SFTS says

    Thanks for writing this post! It shocks me how weirded out people get about things like basic bodily functions, but don’t think twice about chucking crap into a garbage can or toilet. No single-use item disappears after you throw it away, that only happens in your mind! Your garbage becomes another neighborhood’s normal – whether it’s the landfill or the closest water source. The amount of water it takes to run a single load of laundry DOES NOT COMPARE to the countless gallons of water, trees, transportation, packaging, and pollution it takes to make a single roll of toilet paper. Pretending these things “disappear” when they are out of your sight is ignorant and a symptom of an over-entitled population. Thank you for supporting a reusable future! :)

  2. Jen says

    I just was watching the video on Greenpeace website and they mentioned toilet paper being one of the consumer demands resulting in rainforest destruction and the very real risk of extinction for animals like the tiger. :( So I searched for alternatives for toilet paper and found this page!!!! Thank you!!!

  3. Juanita says

    Hi,

    Love your article and it only makes sense. Man has not always had toilet paper. TP is a convenience and always has been. As you stated in your case it definitely was not a convenience but a pain in the youknowhat! There is a saying not too many people have heard, “create a need and then fill it”. Hence, TP. Along with all the down sides of it, the cost is unreal. Thanks for writing this article. It’s needed.

    Juanita

  4. Julie Brown says

    Hi Courtney.
    I just wanted to say thanks for this wonderful sight. I am making a return to the green road of my youth and I love these ideas. I just wanted to commend you on your patience with people who haven’t read all the responses. You answer the same questions with such a lovely gentle response, so sweet.

    Thanks
    Julie. Sydney, Australia.

  5. Becky says

    Do you use them for pee and poo? I have a problem that when I pee, it goes everywhere. I end up having to wipe 7 or 8 times to get it all off, since it runs over my butt and sometimes hits me in the leg. Even then, I don’t feel clean. But I also have OCD. How would these work in my situation? Do you feel that one cloth gets all the pee and or poop off? I think I would feel that one just smears the pee around.

  6. Almamater says

    I started using old soft t-shirts, pajamas, and other unusable clothing for my toilet paper, and I like it. I have cut them into smallish squares. I have 2 small containers, one for clean cloths and one for dirty ones. It’s nice to be able to use old clothing that would otherwise just be another rag (which I have so many of already) and for the things that wouldn’t be good for secondhand stores. My grandmother of course used cloth diapers for all her babies, so the practice of reusing toilet items is time-honored.

  7. zona says

    I think your clothes are cute but rags would work equally well. I’ve never done this but I thought if I ever did I would use plastic squeeze bottle to spray and rinse and the rags/clothes to dry. That way the rags don’t become so messy.

  8. Juanita says

    I understand what you are saying, but if we take all the things we have learned from how the pioneers used to do things and how much easier and cleaner it is to do those same things now, it can only make life better. Back in the old days, God only knows where corncobs where thrown. With the old outhouses, there usually wasn’t a handy way to wash hands and I know they didn’t have turn on faucets and sinks. Being able to make these cloths and place them into a bin with water and vinegar till they can be washed makes it more sanitary. It only takes minutes to sew one cloth which won’t be tossed. They can be made from any soft and smooth cloth around the house. One can cut up old sheets, old clothes that are beyond repair, etc etc etc. Just like anything else, it takes time to get used to it.

  9. Glenn says

    You’re missing a third (and very important) reason not to use toilet paper: Hemorrhoids. There are some estimates that as many as 75% of people over 45 have hemorrhoids at some point, and if you do, you’ll find that using toilet paper is painful, at least, and definitely makes symptoms worse.

    I stopped using toilet paper at home about 2 years ago, but I simply take a shower whenever I have a bowel movement. I’ve thought about getting a bidet, but the shower serves my needs most of the time. I can’t say one way or the other about using cloth if you don’t have hemorrhoids, but I can’t see that wiping with cloth would be any less damaging. The very act of wiping aggravates things down there. So I’ll stick to washing.

  10. confused says

    I feel like washing it would be the grossest part. And when you wash something is it ever truly “clean”. I don’t think it is. That grosses me out too. What if you wash your clothes and some e coli from your feces remains and then you use the same clothe to wipe pee….you could get a UTI.

    to the writer-
    If you’re really concerned about wasting water then why do you still have a conventional toilet? Why not get a composting toilet? And do you hand wash these towels? If not, aren’t you aware of how much water washing machines waste?

  11. Clara says

    Hello,
    I’m wondering if you could tell me how many cloths you made (and the size of the family), and how many cloths each person would go through each day?? Do you end up needing to wash them every day?
    Thank you!

  12. Ms. Loaf says

    Another benefit of family cloth: better for the plumbing in your house! I have IBS and spend a lot of time in the bathroom. I’d been using adult so-called “flushable” wipes to keep myself clean, and they clogged my pipes. Stopped using those, and the pipes still clogged–with just normal toilet paper! I already used cloth menstrual pads (the moon cup just doesn’t work for me, though it’s a great product), and my niece is in cloth diapers, so I knew all about that. I switched to family cloth and never looked back. I’ll admit that there is an adjustment period, and I prefer to wet the cloth before I wipe for poop, but since I’m single and live alone, it really doesn’t create a lot of extra work or laundry.

  13. dharmagirl says

    it’s interesting to see that so many people are doing this or are considering doing this. We got a Biobidet a couple years ago and it’s great! We still use toilet paper, but much less. The bidet is also great to use during the “monthlies” for freshening up. When we travel, and there are no bidets, it’s gross to have to wipe sooo much, and irritating to tender bits. I saw an ad for the Squatty Potty, but I’m surprised to see how many folks are using it. I’ve squatted in the woods a few times, so I know how more natural a position it is. Maybe we’ll start using a stepstool in addition to the bidet. Thanks for posting all the personal info. Everybody poops!

  14. Pea Green says

    BLESS YOU!! I LOVE this article! I am in my fifties and for years have thought I had some kind of complex ‘cos I like to wash and dry after #1 and #2. I use face washers and keep my own supply in my ensuite. I wash them exclusively with MY clothes AFTER soaking and rinsing. Your article has made me think of something which might appeal to some of the more squeamish readers. I remember seeing a cute little hand operated washing machine for camping etc. It is very small, uses hardly any water and would be perfect for a few “private things”. Even a container shaken like a milkshake maker would do the job. I hear you about those tears too . . . as we get older, the downstairs areas get thinner and more sensitive :(

  15. Sarah says

    So! we’re doing it! We cloth diaper (most of the time, we EC too!) and after seeing how much nicer it is to use cloth wipes and diapers, I don’t want to throw anything away anymore!! I’m going to switch to family cloth and cloth sanitary napkins, but my big question is this… Do you still keep toilet paper in your house for guests? Or just have them hang with the Fam Cloth?!

    Thanks for this post, you’re doing the good stuff!!

  16. Garth Green says

    Hello

    Not sure if but it seems you forgot to mention where to place the used toilet cloths AND how to clean them for reuse…

    Please reply directly to my email address…

  17. tzivia says

    This really makes me miss my cloth wipes! They were serged-edge wipees that I made when my kids were born… and just kept on hand in the bathroom ever since (like, 8 years). The older kids always just thought they were for the little ones; nobody ever guessed I was using them myself. We moved over the summer and these are in our shipment… which is somewhere in a boat over the Atlantic, leaving me with inferior paper in the meantime.
    I’m not surprised your fissures and irritation went away: after switching to cloth handkerchiefs, I realized that the red nose which happened every time I got a cold was caused by tissues, NOT the cold itself. Everybody looks at me like I’m nuts when I say it, but these days, only the very worst colds leave me with a red nose.

    • Deborah says

      Bidets originated in France used by the wealthy. Today they are used by the upper class. My brother and sister-in-law lived in a 9000 square foot house. The master bath had a regular toilet and a bidet next to it.

      • Irena says

        Hahaha :)
        “Bidets – Today they are used by the upper class.” Sorry, I had to laugh. How cultures are different…
        Where I come from (Slovenia), bidet is a very normal thing. No, not all of the bathrooms have one, but far from being just for upper class.
        But we used it to wash our behinds and feet. Not after a toilette use.
        Wishing you a nice day from Slovenia.

  18. Angie says

    I’m curious. My family and I are starting to use family cloth We’ve been using cloth pads for some time. I was always concerned about the dyes in the pattern fabrics. We’d like to each have our own so as to not share like we wouldn’t our panties. With our cloth pads we each have our own and just wash them with our normal laundry. We have separate laundry days. I don’t want my family using dye on there sensitive bits..any suggestions other than just plain white?

    • Kat says

      My first thought was to use colored thread on the edges; each person picks their own color then there is no confusion and you remain dye free. If your machine has the fancy edge stitches they may also choose their own edging stitch as well. Or to keep things really color free only use a fancy stitch in white; each person chooses their own custom edging to identify their own clothes with.

      • Angie says

        Thats a good idea. I was also thinking maybe if I made one side plain white and one with a pattern of their choosing that would solve our little problem. Of course we would only wipe with the white side. Concerns or Criticisms?

  19. E says

    Where I live, it’s just culturally unacceptable to leave the toilet without thoroughly rinsing first. So our tp is not for wiping residue; it’s for wiping water off your CLEAN skin and keeping your sensitive bits dry before putting underwear and clothes back on. Because of this we feel much more free to have reusable, washable cloths. They don’t smell. They’re no dirtier than a used bath towel. Think about it — if you fell facedown into a puddle of mud you wouldn’t just scrape it off with a tissue, would you? No. You’d get in the shower and wash it off with soap and water, then dry off with a towel. Same principle.
    My Spanish isn’t the best but I think one of the first comments up there mentioned a spray attachment installed beside the toilet. It’s also called a handheld bidet. If you teach your family not to be wasteful with the amount of water used, this is the easiest way to get yourself clean before reaching for the cloth/tp. And, of course, good hygiene must include washing your hands properly afterwards.

  20. Jose de Arroyoriquejo says

    En mis apartamentos de turismo rural, cuando hice los baños, tuve la sensatez de hacer la instalación convencional y además instalé una toma adicional, al alcance de la mano, de una ducha espray. De esta forma uno puede optar por limpiarse con papel o con agua. La idea me vino de la instalación que tenían en el Asram de Osho en Poona, India. Tenían instalado un coil abajo y dentro de la taza, de modo que cuando abrias el grifo, salía un chorrito de agua,con bastante presión y tu solo tenías que adecuar tu trasero, para que el chorro se dirigiera al punto preciso. De esta forma ni siquiera habia que utilizar las manos, el agua hacía todo el trabajo. Solo era necesario secarse.
    Sorry, but my english is too short

  21. Dennis A says

    Hi Courtney and Frank-Bravo for you-Man o man are you folks doing so many things right not only for yourselves, yet for the planet. I wish you lived closer to me. I would be giving you =vegetables from my garden!
    Hey, they sell bidets for like 89.00 that do not use any “wipe” products at all, and are completely sanitary and a delight to use….
    Just saying..
    I admire everything about you and your wonderful, beautiful family!
    Thank you for sharing the love…
    Peace,
    DocDA

  22. James says

    Absolutely disgusting. Maybe you need to learn how to wipe properly if you get these “tears” so often. No one I have ever known has had that issue.

    • Kat says

      Then I’m guessing you are quite young & don’t know many women with “sensitive skin”. The chemicals, as explained in the article, weaken the skin tissue which causes it to break down easily. I find your comment to be insensitive towards the hostess who took the time to share her personal information. This is a judgment free zone; openness, caring and sharing is what takes place here – please act accordingly.

      • Benedict says

        Nowhere on the internet is a safe place. The internet is the Wild West. If someone is going to put an idea or practice out in public, they should expect comments, and not all of those comments will be kind and gentle.

        Using and reusing poop cloth is a disgusting unsanitary practice and should be called out as such.

        • shaunamom says

          Really? Wiping with a cloth is dirty and should be called out as such?

          Then I suppose if you ever have, or have had, children, you never put them in diapers? Because if wiping with a cloth is dirty, putting children in something that keeps the poop against their skin is REALLY dirty, hmm?

          Seriously, we need to learn to deal with our bodies as they ARE, not as the companies – that make billions off of selling us cleaning products – want us to think they are.

          The dirtier companies make you feel, the more you will buy their products to avoid smelling like a person, being hairy like a person, having oil like a person, or having to deal with any of the realities of being a person, like poop, vomit, and all sorts of fun substances.

          But right now, more and more people are finding out that these cleaning, shaving, oil-stripping products that we are using can actually be bad for our health sometimes. Learning to accept that and do something good for your own body isn’t gross; it’s smart.

          • Jen says

            Well said Shaunamom!!! Wiping with cloth or even water & your hand (washing it afterward of course) is MUCH cleaner and more sanitary than dry tp. If you actually try it, you would find you feel cleaner than you would imagine & it’s not nearly as messy as you would think.

            James & Benedict & anyone else who thinks it’s disgusting, expose yourself to other cultures instead of just commercialized wasteful planet/environment/human unfriendly ones. There are some countries where you would have no choice because they don’t have tp. When in that situation, you would discover what clean really feels like and change your tune.

        • Michelle @ SFTS says

          Wow, and here I thought that using bleached single-use paper products manufactured using dirty practices in third world countries and then dumping them into our watersheds was disgusting! Silly me!

  23. Jodie says

    CJ, if you soak the cloths like she said in a container with white vinegar and tea tree oil and maybe baking soda, you don’t have a sterilization problem. You would certainly not want to use a poison like bleach that would defeat the whole purpose. I have been using white wash cloths to wipe with when I urinate to save on tp for many years and just wash them in a load of their own with baking soda in the load with the soap. I never thought about using wash cloths for wiping for everything. Now, I don’t see why not. What would be wrong with just using wash cloths as long as the cloths were a different color than what you might use for bathing? We don’t use wash cloths for bathing at our house we use natural sponges or shower scrunchies of net. Like Sam says, I don’t think my husband would convert, but I will certainly try this and save even more trees and water. tysm for the article.

  24. CJ says

    I am thinking about the water use, detergent and bleach required to make the cloth sanitary again. Cost plus chemicals. Not sold on this.

  25. Lorna says

    I have been using cloth for over a year. they are not supposed to be flushed. They are laundered. They don’t stink ( I guess they might if you let the laundry pile up) they are no different than washing underwear. It is not unsanitary. It saves resources (trees, ect.)and money. and you will be cleaner and no nasty chemical and paper particles in your undies.Win, win!

  26. Jackie B. says

    FIRST of all…You CANNOT FLUSH these. Have you even THOUGHT about the PLUMBER BILL if you do? SECOND….THIS is not SANITARY!!! THINK….When you poop, what do you do with these? If you have to wash them, they would build up until laundry and smell to high heaven!! UHM…..No.

    • Fran says

      You might want to reread “. . . instead of throwing the used cloths into a dry bin, you can throw them into a vinegar and water solution, and perhaps add a little tea tree oil, as well. . .”. Also, Pampers haven’t been around forever. I used cloth diapers for my kids and they were a whole lot bigger and messier than these cloths. My kids and I never got sick or infections from using them.

  27. Tressa says

    can you please explain this “squatty potty” concept? not getting it even when looking at a picture of one? just looks like a step stool to me? FYI we will be learning how to make mommapads in church here really soon. thankfully I never have to worry bout that problem in life again, however my girl is coming up in the ranks…..
    THANKS LOVE THIS!

  28. mb says

    You know, bidets are like $40 on amazon…I feel like that would be easier and more sanitary. Whatever floats your boat :)

    • Sue says

      And bidets use even MORE water, in addition to the flush of the toilet. People who are “disgusted” by this have either never had a baby that they diapered or are dealing with some pretty bad “body issues”. People need to get over being “disgusted” with perfectly normal bodily functions. And the idea of using potable water to flush away our feces is WAY more disgusting than using a cloth wipe in my book. We can’t continue to ignore the environment by just flushing or throwing things away. There is no “away” anymore!

      • Matt Johnson says

        Sue,

        I think a bidet in conjunction with the cloth wipes makes a lot of sense. Yes, the bidet uses some water however you’ll also need to wash the cloth wipes. The bidet makes the whole situation more sanitary and will likely make more people open to using the cloth instead of disposable paper.

        • Elizar says

          I agree with this, a bidet will not use that much water I would think, especially not as much as is used for making a toilet paper tissue. Not only that you would just end up wiping water from your butt instead of feces.

  29. carolyn says

    P.S. I don’t necessarily use when I have had a BM, I do have toilet paper around for this, but I do save a lot of paper from just each tinkle!

  30. carolyn says

    Hi, I knit my own washcloths and now, thanks to you, I started knitting my own family cloth, so amazing, they take about two TV shows to make, or listening to a great cd.

    Thanks, Carolyn

  31. Kathy Beadle says

    Hi Courtney, I was just wondering why you chose flannel over any other fabric and did you double it up because it’s quite thin?

  32. Kim says

    Thanks for writing about this. Less garbage going into landfills that are no longer built to break down materials but to put them into a type of ‘suspended animation’.

    I sold organic pads at one point in the shop BUT then thought… why even put THAT in a landfill. It’s so unnecessary.

    I find this very interesting after changing over to cloth feminine hygiene products years ago. In doing that I have NOT put over 1500 sanitary napkins that are full of chemicals (never mind my own biological material) into a landfill.

    Imagine 100 women NOT putting 1500 items a year in there… Imagine 10,000. Imagine 100,000 (150 MILLION products)…

    It is no problem to put them in a bucket to soak and wash them out in a sink. They unfold and so are very easy to clean and do not require a whole lot of water.

    I have been very curious about going this next step but have not thought enough about how to do it successfully. Thanks for posting. I haven’t read the article yet but am going to now.

    We are also shopping for a composting toilet. That said, you couldn’t have company use it because you wouldn’t know what meds were going into the garden… so many people on meds these days… it can be quite frightening… so many that even the fish are affected by the hormone/med levels in our waste water… Sigh.

    Thankfully our family does not require any meds.

  33. umm Musaa says

    The key is using the water first, as she said. As a muslim, I always use water first and then usually only have to use a few squares of TP to dry off or check for poop. This totally makes sense. I’m surprised moreppeople in the West haven’t figured out that using water is more sanitary. After all, we don’t bathe by rubbing ourselves with a dry washcloth.

    • hrp says

      GOSH. Thank you. I am almost tempted to start a campaign. Wash with water – using a spray nozzle. (Easier than a full bidet.) And then dry off with a clean cloth. Half the world has been doing that for centuries and it is SO SO SO much cleaner and less wasteful than dry-wiping/ baby wipes/ whatnot. When I travel to Westernized countries, I am traumatized for days on end as I have to follow this elaborate ritual of dry-wiping and showering every time I go to the toilet. (Google ‘bidet showers’/ ‘health faucets’ to see what they look like. They are the BEST.) People of the Western world, PLEASE switch to washing with a little water and THEN wiping dry. No infections, no tears, no paper rolls, no wastage, no plumbing issues, no dirty laundry, no streaking, no hassles.

  34. amanda says

    I’ve been using family cloth for almost 3 months now, but I’m curious do you use cloth when you go on vacation? I use it when I go out, but I don’t know about my upcoming 10 day trip whether I should figure it out or just use paper.

  35. Tiffany says

    So I have a question. Everyone I’ve talked to says that this is absolutely disgusting because then you have poop on a piece of cloth and you try to wash it where you wash your other clothes. My thought though is that these people wipe their butts with toilet paper which can’t actually get all the poop off. I’m sure there is still microscopic poop on their butts and then they put their underwear back on. I guess I just don’t understand why it is any different. The same thing goes with little kids. When they poop in their underwear by accident people rinse it and then wash the underwear like normal. How is it any different? I’m totally on board for family cloth although I would feel a little weird sharing poopy ones with other people. I mean I won’t wear their underwear either. I’ll probably have designated colors for people at least for poop.

    • Carol says

      I like your response the best… different colors for different people in the house! I am concerned about the colors of dye in the fabric though… perhaps organic white flannel would be best and then you could sew with a different color thread per person? :-)

    • Sue says

      You are absolutely correct about there being no difference. In fact, studies have shown that the common American household has enough fecal matter on their kitchen and/or dining room tables to make you GAG because people won’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom. These cloths are much cleaner and more environmentally friendly. The only thing you mention that I find funny though is when you say you wouldn’t use someone else’s poopy cloth. LOL You DO know they are one-time use, then put in the laundry container, right? What do you do about towels? You know that, unless you color code or identify towels (or live by yourself and never have guests who use your shower or bathtub), you have a good chance of using a towel that someone ELSE used on their bums? I find it hilarious that we, especially in the United States, are so “disgusted” by our own bodies. That’s especially evident in some of the other comments on this article. It’s really pretty sad.

  36. Kathleen McCarroll says

    Great post!! I haven’t tried family cloth yet. My kids and my hubby think I’m weird as it is for using dish towels to dry my hands instead of paper towels. They don’t understand the waste. I’ve been using mama cloth for about a year. It’s made “that time of the month” a lot shorter and a lot less messy. I don’t buy dish sponges any more. I just crocheted my own. They work so much better and the best thing, aside from them being reusable, is that I’m saving quite a bit of money.

  37. Jennifer says

    If you don’t consume or put anything on your body that you can not pronounce then how do you explain the nail polish in the picture. Nail polish is FULL of chemicals you can not pronounce. Just curious.

  38. Marcella says

    I am just beginning to use Family Cloth. So far I love it. I want to know if anyone has any suggestions on how to make this mobile. I work outside the home and would like to reduce my waste while out and about. Any suggestions?

    I’m even considering bringing my own hand towel with me to reduce my use of paper towels while not at home.

    Thanks!

  39. Sharon says

    Used cloth diapers for my kids, would like to use MamaPads, but they are so expensive and I don’t have a sewing machine, and cloth TP makes so much sense. Have been using it myself for a while now. Just talked to the kids (ages 7 & 9, boy & girl) and they are totally onboard! We’ve been doing the Squatty Potty thing for a while too. Have been slowing becoming more “green” on purpose and by accident. Can’t really explain it but “green” and whole foods, etc. makes way more sense than anything else.

    • Kim says

      I just use old rags that I fold up because I couldn’t be bothered with sewing etc. My clean “pads” are in a hinged box on the back of the toilet. The folded rags just get unfolded and are then VERY easy to get clean.

  40. Ramona Rung says

    Well, I taught school in China and broke om RIGHT wrist in India. (you might imagine the laughs I got in restaurants) BUT–I never knew what those water spouts near the floor were for—and—No TP–OMG—Was just told to always carry my own TP–and most there do. BUT–now-here at home-I always have (for just myself) some soft terry cloth -former-wash cloths-that I use (more than once and no odor) for No. 1. I feel I save money and help save the planet. My husband has been cruel in his comments to me about this. I often save my unused paper napkins in restaurants and used, still clean, paper towels for No. 2. (folding small and putting in reg. trash like they do in So. America and in many countries. (don’t want to chance a plumbing blockage.) They do this in many countries but my husband screams at me (he is hard of hearing in his old age) and says I should go live in another country. You give me he confidence to tell others about this and to upgrade my cloths and, I might even put a sign on them in my bathroom, with TP still visible for guests. Thanks again, With gratitude and respect, Ramona (do you know how to send copy of this reply to my e-mail? Want hubby to read it. Thanks again.

  41. Cee says

    This is so awesome! I was skeptical when I read the title, but it makes great sense! For my babies, 15+ years ago, I never used the wipes, rather paper towels and good ol’ water to wash their sensitive little bums. Makes sense to take it a step further! I’m loving this idea, thanks for the post!

  42. Laura says

    Okay, so when I first saw the pin for this I was thinking, wow how crazy, who would really give up tp!?! But now after reading this post, and all the helpful comments, I think my family will be giving this a go! Thank you so much for sharing.

  43. Sharon says

    How much vinegar do you put in the water and how do you then wash them? How many cloths do you have and how often do you find you need to do a load?

  44. Christy says

    I cloth diapered my daughter and had tons and tons of cloth wipes so once she was potty trained I just kept using the cloth wipes rather than paper TP. It just made sense to me. I even use them for myself occasionally, and really liked it, but for some reason I got away from it for myself. I need to get back to it.

    Oh and I have made some kitchen cloths (paper towel replacements) out of that super cute birdy fabric. It’s adorable.

    On a different note, you mentioned cloth pads. Did you make your own?

  45. Joni says

    Do you think organic bamboo flannel would work as well or would you recommend sticking with cotton?

  46. Amber says

    My hubby and I have been tossing the idea around for over a year. I finally got fed up with always buying TP and someone yelling, “We’re out of toilet paper!” when the kids didn’t tell me they put the last roll in their bathroom and the stock was empty! So the other day I asked my 8 and 4 year olds if they would use cloth toilet paper and it was an enthusiastic YES! They are so used to cloth diapers, mama cloth, unpaper towels, and reusable baggies that cloth toilet paper was a logical next step!

  47. Teresa says

    I have a ton of flannel that needs a use. I’m going to give this a try (hubby just shakes his head). Question though what size squares do you like?

    • Lindy says

      Teresa I saw you didn’t get an answer to your question about what size squares – the squares that I made out of scrap material (just to give FC a try…..) were roughly 5×5 or 6×6…..

  48. Shellie says

    I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. I have been having pain, as well, and this might just be the solution. Thank you! Seeing the numbers, in gallons, also helps “sell me” on this point. I always wondered which is better, washing them over and over, or the energy used to make paper. I guess washing them is better!

  49. Tricia says

    I’ve tried my own version of this (only w/#1…sorry to get more graphic than I’d like!!!) but couldn’t keep up with the washing. I will have to continue trying. Plus I’m running out of tp! Good time to start again!

  50. marie says

    oh yeah and a bidet would be handy but not all bathrooms are set up to accomadate that would definitely take care of TP problem!!:)

    • Nicholas Alipaz says

      A washlet can be put into most any western bathroom. The only difficulty is finding a power outlet to plug it in. Washlets use a junctions valve to split off of the main water line coming into the tank of your toilet. This means there is no plumbing work needed.

    • Debbie says

      You can get a portable bidet from amazon. My husband is from Egypt and he doesn’t do TP (unless outside of the house) only the bidet. Personally, I still ‘dry’ after using the bidet but that is personal preference. We bought our bidets (yes one for each bathroom) on amazon. They work wonderfully and so simple to set up. We bought the Astor bidet. I might just have to switch to FC and save the TP for guests. Never thought about it before but it makes sense.

  51. marie says

    I have to agree with you somewhat I used Angel Soft TP and I wiped more vigorously then I should I guess and it was like I had paper burn it was not nice!!Since I have been using softer type but yeah you are going to have residue they should be able to make better TP!! When we were poor hippie kids we used the phone book honestly no $$ for TP.So I wonder about the washing machine getting dirty guessing you must use Bleach?? Back to the chemical again.answer on the washing machine question would be appreciated.

    • Nicholas Alipaz says

      There are a lot of alternatives to bleach. I put vineger in my fabric softener compartment and 2 cups of baking soda on top of my load of cloths when I start the machine. There are other options too if you google them.

  52. Melisa says

    I’ve used cloth in the past, but no one else in the house would get on board. I found it to be much more gentle and cleansing than paper. Since our bathroom was so tiny, I’d moisten the cloth a little bit first if I needed to. I used cheap washcloths (like the kind you can buy $5 for 20) and they happened to be the same ones I used for wipes for my son when he was a baby. I kept a little trash can next to the toilet where they went until I did a load of whites-in hot water with vinegar. Nothing really gross about it.

  53. Bev says

    Sarah:
    we use cloth pads around here and yes, the blood does stain a bit but – who else sees it? I guess you could have special ones for guests – or maybe you keep paper TP in the guest bathroom…

    • Ginger says

      If blood staining is an issue simply pour a little hyrdogen peroxide (I use the cap from the bottle) over the stain…it will bubble the blood right up and out of the fibers. Then toss in the wash. This is a trick my mother taught me YEARS ago when I first started my monthly- and has saved litterally hundreds of pairs of panties..

  54. Sarah says

    Do you use this when you menstruate? Would it be too hard to get the blood out of the fabric? Or do you rinse off before wiping?

    • Courtney says

      Great question! I actually use water to rinse when I menstruate, and then use the cloth to dab dry just in case there is still blood. I also use cloth pads. :)

    • Ginger says

      A little hydrogen peroxide (I use the cap from the bottle) poured over the blood and/or stain will bubble it right up and out of the fibers. Then toss in the wash. It works EVEN if the blood has set for DAYS.

  55. Justine says

    I bet you’ve accidently tossed the family cloth after wiping in the toilet ;)

    I can only imagine waking up to pee and being dazed like you know you can get.. Than having to fish this cloth out of the toilet..

    But I like the idea, and I’m not against it. How to get the rest of the family on board though?

    • Nicholas Alipaz says

      I had a little trouble convincing the wife at first, but I started doing it myself and then just asked her to try it and said that they are there and you are welcome to use them. We’ll save soo much toilet paper… Eventually she gave in and started using them.

      Just start using them and make them plenty accessible. I leave mine at the foot just below the normal toilet paper so they are always visible and accessible.

  56. Suz Bufkin says

    I have a question about wiping using the family cloth and getting urinary tract infection. I have tried using TP without flushing it, but in doing so, I always end up with an UTI. Does the family cloth prevent this? Thanks!

  57. Moggie says

    I have absolutely nothing against your valiant effort to do away with conventional toilet paper, after all I’m not a big fan of it myself. But I just can’t help wondering, has it ever, during your lifelong battle with painful tears, occurred to you that the simplest solution would be to just wash yourself instead of wiping? I don’t know how common they are in America, but in this country, the inventions known as BIDET or BIDET ATTACHMENT have been known for a fairly long time… ;-)

      • Nicholas Alipaz says

        We use cloth wipes in combination with our “washlet” which is probably the best option for people whom might be bidet fearful. Our wipes after a washlet clean of the butt don’t have much on them, and are really just to get anything left and the water off one’s butt.

        A washlet replaces your toilet seat and has a reservoir for warming water, it splits off of the main water line that feeds into the back of the toilet tank with a simple adapter that usually comes with it. You do need an electrical outlet by your toilet or an extension cord ran to connect to an outlet somewhere.

        Washlets are very common in Japan where most households have them. I promise you won’t ever go back to dry rough toilet paper after you give spraying your butt with warm water and wiping dry with a soft cotton blend cloth on a warmed toilet seat (yes most of the seats on washlets are warmed).

        Checkout Toto USA for some of their models, the baseline model is plenty adequate and is what we have.

  58. Jasey says

    This is so fun! I wish I could do this but unfortunately we only have access to a community/coin laundry room and the water doesn’t get hot enough to clean our baby’s cloth diapers, so my guess is that it wouldn’t clean cloth TP either. In the future, when we have our own washing machine, I’ll probably try this!

    It’s so great that you are open enough to share this (and other things)! I really love reading some of the things you post.

  59. Ginger says

    Cloth diapers were just a gateway to family cloth for me, but I still use TP for number 2, even though it doesn’t matter as it’s going in with my daughter’s anyway. I just can’t quite get over that one.

  60. Heather says

    What do you do about the #2 you are wiping all over the cloth when you wipe after a bowel moment? That is the one thing holding me back!

  61. Desiree says

    So, how do you wash them? I’d feel kind of gross washing them in the washing machine. How do you ensure they remain sterile use after use?

  62. serenalovestrees says

    This is so awesome. I have been using a really pretty hanky type thing for TP when I go hiking and I love it! I have never really thought of having the little squares. This is a great idea. Hallelujah for environmentally conscious people and the strides we are making. :) Kudos.

  63. Jein.Noir says

    Nice post~ I thought since this was circulated to FB, I might add the method I’ve been using for many years if anyone wanted to try switching away from TP but would prefer a different method with (potentially) less laundry.

    My current method is a carafe (with a pointed spout for precise aim, holds 8oz or more) I fill with warm water to rinse the front end and towel dry (a quick drying sort is best if reusing) and use a hand-fan if needed. GoBidet works well for the back end. xD That’s about as delicately put as possible.

    Using some sort of carafe with plain, clean water is common in many places of the world is especially effective for after urination. I would not go back to drying with dusty, chemical-laden TP ever again ~ too itchy and icky!

  64. Sonja says

    Oh, this is great! I’ve been wondering about alternatives to TP for a while, but had no idea other people were doing it! We use cloth napkins, diapers, baby wipes, etc. . . TP is the only paper product left in the house! Thanks for the tips!

    Funny about the squatty potty. . . I actually (okay, I’m admitting this in public) squat on the toilet by putting my feet on the seat! I can’t stand to go #2 in a sitting position. My husband always gets a good laugh at me! Hah! Now I know I’m totally normal.

    I also really wish the diaper sprayer had warm water, b/c I would totally use that instead. That was the best part of the postpartum misery down there – that warm squirt bottle. It is just a pain to get it to the right temp every time and I gave it up a while after I healed.

  65. Lori @ The Davidson Den says

    The cloths in your photo look so perfect! Almost like they’ve never been used! Do they come out of the wash looking like that?! I’ve used flannel wipes when cloth diapering my babies, but they always tended to rumple and shrink. And over time, they would also pill and become quite rough to the touch. Have you experienced this with your flannel? Or is there a certain type of flannel you purchase to avoid this? Or any special way you prepare or care for them that perhaps I didn’t do?

    • Courtney says

      Ours have shrunk a little and they are a little bit more furry now, but no pills yet. I wash them in the hottest water and dry them on hot, too.

  66. KATHY DEMALTERIS says

    Sounds like the paper products were ‘drying’ you out, almost like a ‘chapped skin’ I am wondering if you used a dab of olive oil on the TP before you wiped, if that would have helped. Cannot wish such sensitive skin on anyone!!! But bless you for addressing it and I commend you for going the distance and making the change!!! I may have to think about this and implement it maybe just for ‘number one’ until I can stomach it further…baby steps, right?!!

    • Stephanie says

      Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!! Thank you for thinking outside the box! I wouldn’t have come up with it but was seriously wondering on our tight budget how to come up with money to buy the fabric… (butt) I have old flannels I NEVER wear anymore and old t-shirts and such… brilliant!!! Thank you!

  67. Julie says

    We’re moving from Alabama to Arizona soon and as soon as we get settled we’re planning on switching to family cloth. I’m so excited! Our nine children…not so much. lol Great post!

  68. Nicole says

    We got diaper sprayer attachments for both toilets — they work great as butt sprayers, too (sadly only cold water). Very helpful when it came time to potty train, and now the kids use them on their own. Someday we’ll get real bidets with warm water!

    • Brenda says

      Thanks for the you tube link, it was a funny video!! I thought it ironic that he ruined the toilet paper getting it wet by demonstrating the toto
      I use cloth for #1, but don’t have enough made up, only lasts two days. Will have to get some more flannel.

  69. Ursula Lambert says

    When my siblings and I were born my Mum always held us over a newspaper just after we had eaten in order to poo and also used cloth to wipe us. We never had messy nappies and the way she held us put us in the same position as a squatty potty. I hadn’t really thought about it until reading your blog, makes perfect sense now. Thanks for being so brave as to broach such a usually umentionable subject. you rock!

    • Courtney says

      What your mom practiced now has a name in the natural living community: Elimination Communication. :) It’s what women have been doing for much longer than diapers! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  70. M.J. says

    What is your washing routine? How often, with what? If you keep them in a wet bin, what do you do with that water when you go to wash them? Do you do a “clean water wash” after these go through the wash, before a different load? Obviously, this is what people have used for millennia, before we had TP, but we also have different routines now.

    Also, what do you do for company? Do you offer them TP, or do they have to use the wipes? What if you’re kind of snobby and don’t want to clean up other’s (outside immediate family member’s) poopy wipes? We have used cloth for our children in the past, but I have a cousin living with me and do not want to deal with washing her poo wipes, seriously. I am really ok with doing this with my family, but others… and my cousin, who lives with us.
    Thanks.

    • Courtney says

      We have quite a few wipes. Not sure how many. Maybe 50? It takes us over a week to go through them all. I just wash when there are a few left. We have a little waste basket we just toss them in when they are used. There is no odor, despite most peoples’ concern. Using a Squatty Potty, there is usually not much to wipe. They barely get dirty. Anyway, when I do wash them, I use the sanitize cycle on my washer. It’s the hottest it will go. We have regular TP on hand for guests, but we offer them the wipes, as well. No one has taken us up on the offer yet. If you want to have “your” wipes and “guest” wipes, you could have different patterns and only offer one type to your guests. I don’t know. Just an idea.

  71. Courtney says

    I really want to make the switch! We cloth diaper so its really no different. I have the same little tears you mentioned!! I use a diva cup, but I never even thought of the toilet paper being the culprit! Thank you so much for this post and tutorial!! =)

  72. KatieB says

    We switched about 7 years ago—and love it!! In fact, when our 20 yo daughter moved out, she brought her own cloth. She and her BF confidently tell their friends that come over they use cloth and haven’t lost any friends over it. It’s such a cleaner way than TP—and I hear you about the…ahem…irritation from paper TP. I made the switch to cloth pads and a cup in 2004 over irritation, dryness and yeast issues, which cleared up all problems. When I first heard about family cloth, I really thought it was over the top. But I kept reading about how great it was, so tried it while the kids and my husband thought I was insane. When I quit buying TP (we were going through $40 a month!!!) they had to use the cloth—and within days they were converted. Traveling without our nice soft cloth is truly torture o_O

    • Courtney says

      Yes! And there are a number of great organic and non-toxic nail polishes on the market! :) Here’s one I really like: http://amzn.to/1chkhUW There is also a brand called Mint Polish, that’s really nice. And then there is PiggyPaint, HopScotch. Lots of options! :)

      • Nicole says

        These all do sound like great ideas, and I’d be on board for something like family cloth, and like other’s my husband and son would probably balk at the idea. But I could easily make these. I love to wear pajama pants around the house, but I don’t like the tops cause I get too warm, so I have used those to make quilt squares out of for blankets.

        I’m sure if I told them about the squatty potty they’d at first think I was crazy…but I cannot afford that kind of money for that. Same thing with that organic nail polish, $10 a bottle? I’m living on disability and it’s practically impossible to live a green, healthy life on such a low budget.

        • Sharon says

          Hi Nicole, I’m on a very limited budget as well (child support for 2 kids, less than $700/month, but I’m finding it fairly inexpensive to live “green”. Think Pioneer days and think outside the box. We have a Squatty Potty wannabe – just a stool with the right height measurement. For cloth TP, we use old washcloths that were originally $4.00 for 20 from WalMart. I do more cooking from scratch, sometimes with organic foods, but not always. Little steps and eventually it just all comes together.

  73. margaret says

    I honestly had never heard of this before your fb post a couple days ago, now reading this post makes so much sense. I have issues down there as well (tears and eczema resulting in so much irritation) and I totally think this is worth a try. Thank you so much for being so open!

    • Courtney says

      You’re exactly the kind of person I wrote this for! I sincerely hope switching to cloth helps the issues you are having. I also switched to cloth pads/panty liners (aka mama cloth). It makes a huge difference for me.

  74. Heather says

    Thank you for this brilliant article! I am certainly going to make the transition to family cloth too after being encouraged by you!

    I bought the squatty potty a while ago, but sent it back after I realized that my simple fold away step up stool will do the job just as well. I actually found the step up stool to be comfier. So you don’t necessarily need this expensive special tool, a simple step up stool is fine too! :)

  75. Honeybee says

    I’m curious why you have different colors for “#1 and #2″ – is that just to allay squeamishness or is there really a need to do that? We use cloth wipes for our daughter and always just wash them with the rest of the laundry, which frequently has soiled clothing and diapers, etc., and we’ve never had any problems with cross-contamination. (Wipes, panties, clothing, etc.) We do laundry so frequently with a little one that it never has long to sit around.

  76. Dawn says

    I’m so glad you “confessed”. We do too! Not strictly cloth, yet! I’m easing my family into the idea. But it seemed like the next step when cloth diapering came into our lives. I like your idea of keeping a spray bottle nearby. I would just wet a few each morning and put them in a plastic container by the potty. The spray bottle seems like a better idea. And WE LOVE OUR SQUATTY POTTYS!! Thanks!

  77. Sarah @ Politically Incorrect Health says

    That is awesome you guys switched! I wish I was brave enough to switch. I guess my fears are the same as everyone else: having used cloths sitting there next to the toilet until you wash them and scrutiny from others.

    Kudos to you for being brave enough to make a blog post about it! Maybe in the next few years it will become more of the norm!

    • Anita says

      We keep our dirty ones soaking in a container of oxyclean water under our vanity cabinet. You don’t see them or smell them (thinking about switching to vinegar water but I haven’t tried it yet). I miss my cloths terribly when we go on vacation! Considering taking them with us on the next trip.

      • Ginger says

        I don’t see why you couldn’t! You could take along some ziplock bags to hold your used ones… or make your own water proof ones.
        Just take about 4 old plastic bags (like from the store) cut the handles off.
        Flatten them.
        Cut a slit up the sides of each bag (you’ll have 8 squares then.) Sandwich your sheets between waxed paper and use your iron to fuse them.
        Iron across a few times to meld the upper 4, flip over and repeat on the other side… When done you have your own waterproof fabric!

        Then take another regular fabric in your favorite print or color and lay your sheeting on top. Sew along all 4 outer edges. Fold your fabric (with the ‘liner’ side up) up enough so that you have some at the top top fold over. Sew along to the sides. Attach a snap, or velcro to the flap and your done! You now have your own baggies! And they are machine washable! Also works great as lunch totes too!

        But anyway- you copuld then take your cloths with you on vacations or on outtings so you don’t have to go without! :D

  78. Linda says

    I just wish I’d have known all of this years ago! I did use cloth diapers as that was all there was and got along fine with them. But then all things disposable came along……so much waste. I use a stool in the bathroom , as I was not brave enough for the squatty potty….but everyone thinks I’m crazy anyway with the way I eat and my oils and making my own laundry soaps and deodorants …so what’s one more thing? Maybe someone will actually benefit from this one day. Wish I could afford a bidet though! Considering the bottle warmer for a warm spray! Thank you so much for this.

  79. Rainne says

    Wow. All I can say is that my mind is totally blown. I just found your website today and all I can say is “wow”. Between the family cloth, the moon cup and the squatty potty (my first exposure to all three) my life is about to change drastically. This is amazing! Thank you for breaching topics that most would consider to be to embarrassing to even discuss, let alone publish, along with a picture.

  80. Lisa says

    I just read your article and I purchased 3 squatty potty’s! Two for us and one for my mother…looking forward to bumping “green” and “clean” to the next level! Thank you very much for posting this and being so honest and open. I value self reliance and not being dependent on so much consumerism and making someone else rich through unnecessary purchases. Looking forward to using the cloth wipes and going to have the portable bidet spray bottles too. I’m going to look into sticking them in a baby bottle warmer if they fit so the water will be warm instead of a cold spray, in the colder months of the year I think we’ll appreciate that! Blessings

  81. Nancy says

    I read most of these, but I didn’t finish them all, so I may have missed the answer to this question. What is the difference between cloth diapers and these?

    When I had my first daughter, disposable diapers were just coming out. She couldn’t wear them without breaking out in a terrible rash. Sooooo, we started using cloth diapers. I was very young, and it was difficult at first (I have a terribly sensitive stomach.) When daughter # 2 came along, they had improved the disposables so they wouldn’t leak by adding an “elastic” leg. Well, she was the cutest little chubby baby, and these cut the circulation off. Again, we went to cloth diapers.

    I can say I didn’t have a problem with it after a while.

    Here is my question. When my daughters dirtied their diaper, we emptied it into the toilet and flushed. Then we washed it out with a second flush. Why are people seeming to be unsure of what to do with a wipe that may be messy? Did we have more laundry because of the cloth diapers? YES. BUT, it also kept me up on my laundry more than I have ever been!

    On another thought, I have MAJOR problems with my bowels. IBS is nothing compared to what I have. Even my doctors at Mayo have not been able to get it under control for the past 4 years. If I used these (which I had never thought of – and believe me, I would do anything to make things more comfortable after a long day of dates with the toilet! ),I would have been using these all along.

    I have seen things to hold dirty diapers that will keep them from smelling. I believe they were called a Diaper Genie. That might be an answer for someone worried about that issue.

    Just a thought.

    • Lynn says

      This idea just seems so new to me! I have not had babies so I guess my most intimate experience with poo is with my pets. What do you do when on your period? I use a Diva Cup but things still get a bit messy. What do you do when you don’t have a clean poop but have diarrhea? :O

    • Stephanie says

      Nancy, I have had great success with the Paleo lifestyle. I have heard of others too, who after years and years of living in the bathroom, have gotten their lives back. I am not selling anything so please don’t think I gain from this. I am just sharing info. I got my start at http://www.marksdailyapple.com. That’s where I found more like minded people, willing to live a different lifestyle too. I love it. I pray you find a way to heal yourself. Best regards.

  82. Krista says

    I was thinking about this today while I cleaned my bathroom. Slowly got the hubs convinced on cloth diapers, making a transition to hankies and cloth napkins, but I’m not so sure I could sell him on this unless I refused to buy tp! I could see him hoarding a secret stash…

    • Courtney says

      Well, lucky for guys, they only need it for #2! Do you have a Squatty Potty? Sure cuts down on the mess back there! There’s almost nothing left to wipe if you squat. Keeps our wipes very clean.

  83. Judy says

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been changing our lifestyle over the past few months with our eating habits & just switched to cloth panty liners. I’ve been so irritated lately as I have to wear panty liners daily now and my body isn’t liking it very much. I’ve recently heard about the squatty potty so just broached the subject of family cloth & the potty to my boyfriend and he was all for it!!! Excited to add this to our routine.

  84. DP says

    Cutting up old T shirts or ribbed undershirts works great. And no hemming required. Soak them in Oxyclean and they wash up nice!

  85. Mary Korte says

    We bought bidets for our toilets a few years ago and I made flannel cloths to pad dry with. As clean and pampering as family cloth is, soft spray bidet is a whole magnitude better. We spend less than $100 for both bathrooms and made the cloths out of old sheets so the initial outlay was our only expense. They have paid for themselves thrice over in toilet paper savings.
    Between the bidet sprayer and the squatty potty a visitors first time in our bathroom is pretty bizarre. I keep tp on hand but also explain the funky potty tools and offer that folks can use them. But then our house is pretty strange the moment you enter…
    I do keep a bucket of vinegar water for spent cloths and run them through the hot cycle once a week.
    TMI but I especially like the bidet during my period as I have a pretty heavy go of it and even with my moon cup things get a bit messy for a few days. It is nice to be able to wash easily without having to jump in the shower every few hours.

    • JessicaD says

      Hi. Can you tell me how you made bidets for $100?
      I also use cloth for me. I had a stack of old washclothes that were baby wipes. No baby in diapers now so I put then on the back of my toilet. I love them but they are really about 4times too big. :(
      I use a cup for my period so when I need any clean up I actually use the shower head on a handle and hose.

    • Jein.Noir says

      I’m glad someone else also recommended a bidet and cloth-drying (I keep a quick-drying reusable hanging by the toilet.) I only have a cold water bidet right now, but the carafe-rinsing method also is really nice for menstrual tidiness. : )

  86. HT says

    so now what do you do with a cloth after a messy smearing muddy poo?? any special way to clean these cloths???

  87. Ashley H says

    We use family cloth! (but so far I haven’t been brave enough to tell ANYONE, much less blog about it!). We’ve been using them for several months and love it. Regular toilet paper is like sandpaper compared to this! Like you said, when you already do cloth diapers, what’s a few more poopy wipes in the wash?

    • Courtney says

      Because people here in America feel better with wipes. Many people in the middle east also just use water. I think it’s a cultural thing! The whole reason for wipes and toilet paper is due to the fact that toilets are SEATS, not made for squatting. Humans are naturally made to squat when they eliminate (which many other countries still do), which eliminates a lot of the “smearing” and uncleanliness.

      • Emily Z. says

        We’re a Turkish American family. in Turkey, we have squat toilets that are essentially a ceramic toilet bowl in the floor with places for your feet on either side. A spigot is at floor level next to the toilet. We fill a small container with water and rinse before taking a cloth or piece of toilet paper to dry off. The idea of using just toilet paper is truly repulsive if you grow up with rinsing your parts after you relieve yourself. Truly disgusting. Appalling even. So, in America, we rinse even with the western style toilets. Cloth toilet wipes are a great idea and nothing new! But using them as wipes instead of to dry off with is…still unsettling.

        • Jein.Noir says

          Oh good, someone else has pointed out the rinsing method I posted about below! I’ve seen many names for the rinsing vessels from many cultures; is there a special one in Turkish? The last term I learned was “Tabo” from the Philippines. I just use a carafe currently. : )

          • Matt Johnson says

            I wanted to quit using toilet paper for a few reasons:

            1. I am vegan and it’s hard to find a vegan toilet paper.

            2. I hate knowing that all of these millions of trees are being flushed down the toilet.

            So I’ve been researching and this page has helped a lot. What I intend to do is the following:

            1. Buy a hand held bidet to be attached to the sink, so that we can use warm water to rinse off after using the toilet.

            2. Buy a squatty potty as they are intriguing and after review they seem to make a lot of sense.

            3. Buy organic cloth wipes so that we don’t need toilet paper.

            I am from the USA and have to agree with the Turkish comments that wiping with the cloth without rinsing first seems unsanitary. The rinsing is very clean and would make the cloth wipes only necessary for drying… that make a lot more sense. I found an American Made http://www.rinseworks.com/

            All the best and thank you so much for the article,
            Matt
            Minneapolis

  88. Kelly says

    Regarding the squatty, what height did you order?? We have 7 yr olds too that I’d love to use this!! Ps… You’re in inspiration ;)

  89. Emily says

    we switched 3 years ago….love it! Like you said, it really does feel like “pampering”! When I’m out of town, the thing I miss the most is my cloth TP. :) We have wet bags with a zipper and just discard them in there after each use (using a warm wet on after going #2 is amazing, by the way). Just wash them like cloth diapers (we wash our more like twice per week….but we both work from home).

  90. Cait says

    I was about to get into cloth pads (I’m interested in a cup but so nervous about that since I never even used tampons) but now I’m expecting so I won’t have to worry about it for awhile :) I’m thinking when my daughter starts potty training it will be a good, natural time to buy a squatty potty…kids are a good excuse for how it looks in the bathroom! Or I can just explain. Or get a fold up one in the mean time :) Maybe we’ll switch to family cloth too! It’s been on my radar for awhile and we cloth diaper so it makes sense. Maybe after the SP!

    • serenalovestrees says

      The cup is awesome! I’m pretty sure that even if you’ve never used tampons it would work wonderfully. I will never use anything besides a cup again, they are THAT good! :)

  91. Annie says

    I love this idea! I am hoping to get the hubby on board. I am going to order Some cloth pads as I have recently noticed that I am allergic to what’s in the brand I use. So, this all makes perfect sense to me. I also want to get a squatty potty. I don’t know that my husband will use it, but thank god we have two bathrooms! It also makes it easier with guests and family visiting. My family is not that open minded. Thanks for being brave and sharing all your adventures.

    • Courtney says

      Once you start doing it, your hubby might come around. :) Frank loves both our family cloth and our Squatty Potty and even tells other people about it now! Haha.

  92. Intrigued says

    I am absolutely in love with this post. I cannot wait to try this. Thank you for being so brave and open and giving us so many useful tips! For people who want a squatty potty that they can fold up and put away, I bought a $9.99 littlefolding stool from TJ Maxx and I like it better than my real squatty potty. It’s also useful for when kids come over. They stand on it to wash their hands at the sink.

  93. Tiffany says

    How do you explain family cloth to guests? My SO’s family is at our house every other weekend and there’s only one bathroom. I don’t want to hide it from them when they come but at the same time I wouldn’t even know how to explain it to them and I’m pretty sure they’d think I was insane. Do you have any tips?

    • Courtney Polivka says

      Let them think you’re insane. ;) Who cares?! Be confident in the decisions you’re making in life. I always tell guests they’re welcome to use them. Hehe. I sanitize them in every wash, so they’re clean. The blue ones are for #1 only and the others are for #2. No one’s ever used them. I keep a roll of regular TP in the bathroom for guests.

    • Jan says

      keep your family cloths in a covered basket on the top of the toilet tank…when there’s no guests in the house, just put the cover under the basket, when guests arrive, pop it back on. if they’re rude enough to snoop, then they deserve to see what they see!!! LOL!!!

  94. Stacy Yates says

    I recently made the switch to cloth toilet paper. I cut cute flannel (no hemming and they are fine) into the size of 3 sheets of tp, approx 4.5 x 12.5 and did different colors for each girl. I have only had them use them for pee so far but was wondering about #2 and how to do that with smell and ick factor….suggestions? Currently I have a “wet” bag that hangs from the toilet paper holder thing and we put used cloths in it and have no smell. I empty the bags into mesh lingere wash bags for laundering.

  95. Joanie Costlow says

    We’ve been family clothing for a while now, since my son was born. I have been using cloth pads for ages and my little one’s in cloth. I have debated a Squatty Potty for awhile ESPECIALLY after having a baby.

    My only worry is figuring out how to potty train a little boy with cloth tp and a Squatty Potty, haha. I guess if he doesn’t know any different… !

  96. Carol G says

    What do you do when you have company over. Do you explain it to them so they know what to do? Also, what size do you make them?

    • Courtney Polivka says

      We have regular toilet paper on hand for company, but I would of course let them know they are welcome to use the cloth. I suspect that at least our family members have secretly read this blog post and *possibly* think we’re crazy but oh well! Ha! I made them approximately 4×6 inches but I got a little sloppy on some, and they are different sizes. Make them cuter, I think. More homemade looking. :)

  97. Peggy says

    Thank you so much for this article. My hubby keeps saying we should switch to cloth tp but, I’ve been relunctant…well this may have just gave me the push to try it. By the way…what is a Squatty Potty?

      • Courtney Polivka says

        We love ours! When I told Frank that I thought we should get one, he was like, “You’re totally serious, aren’t you?” Bahaha. We had been using an upside-down dog bowl for over a year to try to get our feet up higher. Then I found the Squatty Potty, bought it, and let’s just say that now we both love it so much that we traveled with it once.

        And girl, let me tell you, switching to cloth has been a blast. I really don’t know why it’s not more mainstream. It’s super soft and feels clean. Frank still get’s a kick that he gets to clean up his business with pink and purple cloth (since I bought the cute kind!)—but there’s really not much clean up anyway when you’re using a Squatty Potty!

        We just throw the used ones in a bin and then throw that bin straight into the washer, and I just wash on the hottest setting (called “Sanitize” on my washer). Throw ‘em in the dryer, and done!

        • Meghan says

          I have a question about the squatty potty. I have been using a step stool. When you use the SP does it stay more beside the potty as it is in your picture or do you move it forward when you go? I am wondering if I am accomplishing the right position with my step stool as opposed to the SP. Trying to save a bit of green:)

          Thank you for this post by the way… At first I was all No Way… now I am really considering it. I have been using Mamma cloths for years but for some reason that is not as weird to me as washing #2 cloths…lol. Will definitely be doing this for #1 at least. And thanks you to the poster who mentioned the washlet… will be checking that out!

          • Courtney says

            We pull it forward and then tuck it back underneath the toilet when we are done. We used to use a step stool, as well, but we prefer the Squatty Potty after making the switch. We used a stool for over two years before ponying up the money for a SP, but we love it. :) It was a Christmas present to ourselves!

        • Erin says

          “We just throw the used ones in a bin and then throw that bin straight into the washer” I am not familiar with what type of bin can go straight into a washer. Is it a bag? Like a wet bag? I want to switch to family cloth!

  98. Sam says

    I’ve been reading and reading about family cloth. I’ve started following the ‘green’ road when we first son was born, he had extreme eczema and is allergic to practically everything. SO i’ve slowly converted and started caring about our planet. first coth wipes, cloth diapers and then mama pads and then i was ‘sitting’ one day and thought, what about resuable toilet paper? i honestly thought it was a wierd idea but genius and was itching to get on google and see if anyone else was as nutty as i was. I can’t even believe the amount of families who do and then vast amount of info i’ve found. i’m excited to get started tomorrow! My hubby won’t be a convert but i’ll raise my two boys and they won’t know any different!

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